Ezequiel 44

1 The man took me back to the outer east gate of the Holy Place, and the gate was shut.

2 Jehovah said to me: »This gate will stay shut and will not be opened. No one may enter through it because the Lord Jehovah of Israel entered through it. It must be kept shut.

3 »Only the prince may sit there and eat food in the presence of Jehovah. He will enter through the entrance hall of the gateway and leave the same way.«

4 The man brought me through the north gate in front of the Temple. When I looked, I saw Jehovah’s Temple was filled with Jehovah’s glory. At once I bowed down.

5 Jehovah said to me: »Son of man, pay close attention. Look, and listen to everything I tell you. Listen to all the rules and regulations for Jehovah’s Temple. Pay close attention to everyone who enters the Temple and leaves from the Holy Place.

6 »‘Tell the rebellious people of Israel: ‘This is what the Lord Jehovah says: I have had enough of all the disgusting things that you have done, people of Israel.

7 »‘You brought godless foreigners into my holy place. You dishonored my temple when you offered fat and blood to me. You rejected my promise so that you could do all your disgusting things.

8 »‘You did not take care of my holy things. You put foreigners in charge of my Temple!« ’

9 »‘The Lord Jehovah says: »No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the sons of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary.« ’

10 »‘But the Levites, who went far from me when Israel went astray, who went astray from me after their idols, will bear the punishment for their iniquity.

11 »‘They will be ministers in my sanctuary and having oversight at the gates of the house. They will slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they will stand before them to minister to them.

12 »‘I have sworn against them because they ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel,’ declares the Lord Jehovah. ‘They will bear the punishment for their iniquity.’

13 »‘They will not serve as a priest to me, nor come near to any of my holy things, to the things that are most holy. They will bear their shame for their abominations that they have committed.

14 »‘Even so I will appoint them to keep charge of the house, of all its service and of all that will be done in it.’

15 »‘But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of my sanctuary when the sons of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me. They shall stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood, declares the Lord Jehovah.

16 »‘They will enter my sanctuary and come near my table to minister to me and keep my charge.

17 »‘They must wear linen clothes when they enter the gateways to the inner courtyard. They must have no wool on them while they serve in the gateways to the inner courtyard and in the Temple.

18 »‘They must wear linen turbans on their heads and linen undergarments. They must not wear anything that makes them sweat.

19 »‘When they go out among the people in the outer courtyard, they must take off the clothes that they wore as they served. They must leave their clothes in the side rooms of the holy place and put on other clothes so that they do not transfer the holiness from their clothes to the people.

20 »‘They must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long. They must keep the hair on their heads trimmed.

21 »‘None of the priests may drink wine when they enter the inner courtyard.

22 »‘They must not marry widows or women who have been divorced. They may marry only virgins from the nation of Israel or widows of priests.’

23 »‘They must teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is unholy. They must show the people how to tell the difference between what is clean and what is unclean.

24 »‘In all disputes the priests must act as judges and make decisions based on my Laws. They must obey my rules and my regulations at all my festivals. They must observe holy days to worship me.

25 »‘A priest must not make himself unclean by going near a dead body. But a priest may become unclean if the dead person is his father, mother, son, daughter, brother, or unmarried sister.

26 »‘After a priest is made clean, he must wait seven days.

27 »‘When he enters the inner courtyard of the holy place to serve in the holy place, he must bring his offering for sin, declares the Lord Jehovah.

28 »‘The priests will have no inheritance. I am their inheritance. Do not give them any possessions in Israel. The priests belong to me.

29 »‘They will eat grain offerings, offerings for sin, and guilt offerings. Everything in Israel that is devoted to Jehovah will belong to them.

30 »‘The priests should have the best of all the first ripened fruits. The best of every gift from all your contributions must go to the priests. The best of your dough must go to the priests. This will cause a blessing to rest on your home.

31 »‘The priests must never eat any bird or animal that has died naturally or was killed by other wild animals.’